Vilanova: La Liga not easy or boring

Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova says La Liga is not easy and certainly not boring despite Sunday's 4-1 over second placed Atletico Madrid.

Lionel Messi.

By staff

The league leaders opened up a nine point advantage over Atletico with the victory by scoring four straight goals through Adriano, Sergio Busquets as well as a brace from Lionel Messi.

Earlier, Falcao had given the visitors the lead but they could little to stop Vilanova's side from responding in lethal fashion and ultimately strolling to victory in the end.

The weekend also saw Real Madrid held to a 2-2 draw with Espanyol at the Bernabeu which leaves the defending champions a massive 13 points adrift of Barca - the destiny of the trophy already appears decided.

"We've won a lot of points, but it hasn't been easy," Vilanova reminded journalists at his post-match press conference.

"We've had to battle back to win games and perhaps we won't be able to do that in the future.

"La Liga is not easy, and it certainly isn't boring."

He added: "In my first year [2008/09] we were 12 points back and we had to go to the Bernabeu and play for the title. Now, there's a team that's only nine points behind us."

"I don't think that this title is ours to lose. If there is a team that has the capacity to win a lot of points, and they overtake us, then they deserve the title. It happened in 2009 and it could happen again."

However, Vilanova did admit he is finding it increasingly tough to come up with a starting XI for each match such has been the high-level of performance from every player in his squad so far this season.

"Naming 11 players to start isn't easy," he said.

"I thought we'd do well with the team I sent out and that [David] Villa could help us in the second half. I understand that this isn't easy for him, but we have a lot of talented players, [Javier] Mascherano and [Dani] Alves also watched the match from the bench..."

Vilanova's views were shared by his players, with Busquets and Pedro keen to emphasise the importance of maintaining their current levels of performance.

"We have a good advantage," Busquets told the club's website. "It's important that we stay at this level.

"There's no way we'd allow this lead to slip, we can only focus on the match against Valladolid (on Saturday) so that we can go to the Christmas break with a certain degree of tranquility."

Pedro added: "This week has gone really well for us. We cannot lose focus, we haven't won anything yet."

One player who is assured of a spot in Vilanova's line-up is the Argentinean maestro Messi. His brace on Sunday against Atletico brought him up to an incredible tally of 90 goals in 2012.

Messi now holds the world record for most goals scored in a calendar year - he broke the original record of 85 goals held by Gerd Muller earlier in the month.

Read also: Lionel Messiah hath arrived

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